First few days tandem nursing - how to deal with jealousy? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 28 Old 07-28-2002, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dd # 2 is five days old, we came home on Weds.

Dd (22 months old) is being v good with the baby, but when she realises she's nursing shouts 'No' and gets upset, once she tried to pull her away. I'm trying to nurse the baby elsewhere or discreetly. I let dd#1 nurse as often as she likes.

Last night I was really worried, although this morning she did say 'Baby has noo-noos?' and when I said yes, she said 'Baby likes it.' I'm hoping this is her being able to process and come to terms with it. Today I have been v discreet when I am nursing, she is in the room but hasn't noticed, so no upset so far.....

What did others experience? I dont want to hide away all the time, as she has to get used to it, and it will be impossible to do this after next week when I am home on my own. But if I nurse obviously at the moment she gets really distressed by it, so I don't want to inflame things after just five days.

advice very much appeciated!
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#2 of 28 Old 07-29-2002, 12:56 AM
 
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when my ds#2 was born dd was 27 mo. and nursing ALL the time. She decided that one side was hers and that the baby could have the other side...the only time we had a problem with him nursing is when she would catch him on HER side (I did let him nurse on both sides when she wasn't around, when caught I'd just say "oops..we forgot"). If he was on her side she was happy that he was getting the good stuff.
They actually nursed this was for almost a year before she felt ready to share HER side.

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#3 of 28 Old 07-29-2002, 12:28 PM
 
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We did the same thing!! My son was a lot younger(16 months) when my daughter was born. I had one side that produced more milk than the other so my new dd got that side and my son had the other.
Have you tried nursing them at the same time? That is what saved my sanity. Lots of pillows, and getting settled, but man did I get a lot of naps those first couple of months that way!!
Congratulations and keep trying, it's so worth it!!!

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#4 of 28 Old 07-29-2002, 01:23 PM
 
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I am nursing a 29 month old and a 13 month old now... it was very hard in the beginning but it did get progressively easier... I sometimes nursed them together - more often than not though I had to tell my then 15 month old that he could nurse "X" (after his nap, after his bath, etc.)

now I nurse them together first thing in the morning while lying on my back and I can get 15-20 minutes of extra sleep!!

I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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#5 of 28 Old 07-30-2002, 09:48 AM
 
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You've gotten some great suggestions so far! You may find nursing the two of them at the same time cuts down greatly on the jealousy. Some mothers, however, have a hard time nursing two at the same time because the feeling can be rather intense, so don't feel bad if you give it a shot and it doesn't work for you.

I also agree that "assigning" one breast to each child is a great way to deal with the jealousy. That way baby isn't completely taking over the toddler's "territory".

I'm currently nursing three and the way we work it out is that my boys (3.5 years and 2 years) nurse on my right breast and the baby (6 weeks) nurses on my left breast (unless my boys want to nurse at the same time...then my younger son nurses on my left breast, which used to be "his").

Also...doing something like reading to your toddler while your baby is nursing may help. Giving her attention and interacting with her may have better results than "hiding out" while you're nursing the baby. Many moms find that role-playing with dolls helps their older nursling to understand and accept that baby needs to nurse and that baby nursing doesn't mean that baby is more important than the toddler.

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#6 of 28 Old 07-30-2002, 01:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the advice, but please keep it coming! We're taking two steps forward and it seems almost two back, at the moment.

She is much better during the day now, although she tells me to put the baby down quite frequently (which I do if it's possible). The last few nights though have been a nightmare!

They are both in with us in bed, but dd wakes if the baby wakes, and then gets really distressed when she realises I"m going to nurse. Then she shouts 'no' and cries and wants to nurse herself, whcih I can't do because by then I've got a screaming baby on my hands. The baby will often not latch quickly and quietly, I'm hoping this will improve, but now we've got in the habit of waking and insisting on nursing during the night.

We've ended up all coming downstairs to watch her favourite video so that I can nurse the baby, which then leads to a tired toddler all day. (Plus a tired mummy!) Dd is not easy to get back to sleep, so it takes a few hours to all get back to bed.

I"m not sure whether to put the baby in the crib for part of the night in the room next to ours, so that dd maybe doesn't realise I"m nursing her at night and can re-establish sleeping through (which she did consistently before) But then I feel guilty about the baby, as I have never slept separately to dd#1 and don't want to use a crib for any of our babies! Plus I don't know if I will be able to sleep without them both beside me.

I just feel torn in two - I want to meet both their needs but can't seem to do it right now!

Hope this makes sense, I'm very tired right now. Please keep the advice and support going - I'm not going to give up but I need to be able to find some solutions..........
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#7 of 28 Old 07-30-2002, 01:48 PM
 
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Whatever you do, don't hide the new one's nursing or try and make her "inconspicuous." That will compound the problem, for sure.

- Amy
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#8 of 28 Old 07-30-2002, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Amy, I can't believe how I'm not thinking straight about this! Maybe the lack of sleep isn't helping...

Today dd noticed the baby nursing and was realy upset (it breaks my heart to hear her sobbing) I was very matter of fact and told her that's how the baby eats, and that she could nurse straight afterwards. Luckily the baby was nearly finished, and so we went off to the other room afterwards and she calmed down and nursed for a few minutes. She was crying at the same time but did calm down. Then she went off to play as if nothing had happened. Of course though I felt dreadful about it.

Later she talked about it and that the baby likes nursing which I took to be a good sign. I have decided now to be matter of fact about it, not disappear to nurse but at the same time not make a big deal of it. I'm hoping that this will help.

But it's soooo hard to see your child so upset. I'm doing everything I can to make her feel important and to give her attention, but the nursing thing really upsets her.
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#9 of 28 Old 07-30-2002, 07:42 PM
 
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have you tried nursing them together yet? I didn't like it in the beginning but it sounds like it might help you? as time went on I did it more and more....

I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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#10 of 28 Old 07-31-2002, 01:02 AM
 
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I second the nursing at the same time thing. It can be hard and weird feeling, but so is having one of them soo upset. I used to lay in bed flat on my back with both of them propped on pillows, and my arms under both. Kind of weird, I know but it worked.

Another way I did it was to be on my side partially facing the baby, then the older one kinda draped over my other side.

Just try a bunch of things, who knows you may even learn to sleep through, I think I finally had to.
Good luck, keep us posted.

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#11 of 28 Old 07-31-2002, 11:28 AM
 
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Does the older one have a baby to take care of? That she can nurse when the baby nurses, change diapers, ect. Have her help with the baby, "oh the baby is crying what will help her?" maybe if your toddler says she needs to nurse then it will be okay.

Or alternatively keep the focus only on your toddler. Don't say the baby is hungry. Say are you hungry, need to nurse, snuggle,ect? Try to keep this about what your toddler needs not about what is going on with the baby.

Maybe a box of fun things she can play with when you are nursing, art stuff, stickers, little boxes of raisins.
Put the baby in the football hold so most of your lap is still open for reading, singing, hugging.

Just some thoughts, my boys are 19 mo apart and still need to both nurse at the same time 15 months later. Although sometimes it is more of a fun thing to do together than a jealous reaction!
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#12 of 28 Old 07-31-2002, 11:56 PM
 
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Yes, I agree, nursing together helps. Though I'm not crazy about it, either, and try to avoid it. But sometimes it's necessary. And no matter how annoying I find it physically, when they start playing with each other while they nurse, it is the cutest thing in the universe ...

- Amy
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#13 of 28 Old 08-02-2002, 11:55 AM
 
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Britishmum,
I agree with all of the great advice you've gotten so far. As someone who's been where you are not too long ago, I can tell you it does get (much) easier. My children are now 7 mos and 3 years and nursing isn't such a struggle anymore. The first few weeks when the baby is learning to nurse and you are learning to tandem nurse, that is the most difficult time. This is a huge adjustment period for your family and I think when you are nursing the older child that is where you see many of the adjustments to a new sibling taking place. It is so hard to go from one child to two! I remember that feeling of being torn between meeting the baby's needs and comforting my toddler. My wise midwife told me to remember that to the baby "nursing is everything" and that helped me, knowing that my toddler could wait, but the baby could not. Still, it was so hard to see my older child's whole world being turned upside down and not being able to stop it.

Here are the things that helped our transition: I could not nurse both children at the same time in the beginning, but that has gotten easier. Now tandem nursing is a lifesaver! I never thought I would say that when I was at your stage! Spending one on one time with both children was and is still very helpful for us. My husband spent lots of time with our older child going on outings, reading stories and cuddling and that was wonderful. They even slept on a futon in our basement together for the first few months to give me and the baby time to rest and form our own nursing relationship. These things may not be the answer for you, but soon you will find your niche with your own nursing relationships and I'm sure the jealousy will get better.

Ultimately I think a sibling is the greatest gift you can give your child and she will probably not remember the difficult adjustment she went through in the beginning, she'll remember the joy of having a sister!
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#14 of 28 Old 08-04-2002, 10:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for your advice and encouragement! I certainly need it right now.

These past few days have been tough. Dd #1 is more accepting of the baby nursing during the day, and even talks about it calmly. She is not openly upset when she sees the baby nurse during the day, although she doesn't like it much.

But last night she woke up as I was feeding the baby and cried on the bed for twenty minutes. It was awful, as I couldnt do much but talk to her and stroke her back as she sobbed. I had to finish feeding the baby before I could cuddle her and nurse her. Today she woke up happily, but now refuses to nap at all - usually she takes between two and three hours nap during the day. Today we got ten minutes, even with my lying with her. (She is luckily not upset with the baby - she is still being her usual sweet, gentle self with her baby sister.)

I can't face nursing two at once, I am so sensitive and dd's nursing drives me up the wall sometimes. She is deliberately breaking all our nursing rules (I put these rules in place when I was pregnant and uncomfortable - not squeezing, pinching, or prodding at me with her hands, and not kicking at me with her feet.) Some of our nursing sessions, she is deliberately doing all those things in a really extreme way, over and over to see if I'll stop the session - I warn her I"ll count to three for her to stop but she continues until I take her off. Then she cries becasue she's not nursing. I've given her several chances to start again, but once she is in this mood, she keeps it up. Hmm, some deep psychology here, but it's very frustrating for all concerned! It's like "You say you'll let me nurse, but I'm going to prove that you won't really by behaving badly until you say no". Hmm.

I'm going to stick it out, but need every bit of advice that you experienced tandem nursers have to offer!

thanks!
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#15 of 28 Old 08-04-2002, 10:23 PM
 
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(((hugs))))

I remember it was so impossible to nurse them toether at first b/c of what you were saying - pinching kicking etc. plus it really just plain old bugged me - sensory overload!! LOL but it did get easier (TG!) and now I do nurse them together about 2 or 3 times a week I would say.

It will get better with time... let me tell you one of my greatest joys is seeing my boys hold hands or play with each other's hair while nursing... but it certainly didn't feel like that would ever happen in the beginning!

I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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#16 of 28 Old 08-08-2002, 02:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks flminivanmama!

Things have been a bit better the past couple of days. Dd is usually OK now during the day, especially now we are getting back into some of our normal routine and activities. She is asking to nurse a lot during the day but when it comes to it, doesnt really want to. When she breaks the nursing rules, and I take her off, she now often laughs and goes off to play rather than crying.

Nights are the big challenge. Dd used to sleep through the night and not nurse until morning, but is now waking at night to nurse, often two or three times in addition to nursing at bedtime and in the morning. I find it really stressful as I am lying there waiting to see if the baby will wake at the same time and dreading the scene if that happens. I imagine that she will eventually night wean again - I didnt do it purposely but she nightweaned herself when I was pregnant. I just hope it won't take too long, as I find the night nursing really irritating and uncomfortable.

I know I'm doing the best thing for both children, but right now, it's hard to focus on the benefits. Someone suggested that I start pumping so that dh has a bottle to give the baby if dd is nursing or crying when the baby needs feeding at night. I'm not sure about it, as I really can't stand bottles, but wonder if that is a practical solution. But I also worry about introducing bottles, dd never took one and I gave up with her after a few weeks.
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#17 of 28 Old 08-08-2002, 09:03 AM
 
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Can you put your dh in charge of one (or more) of the night wakings of the toddler?? It may be a struggle for the first few days but it may work out really well....

I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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#18 of 28 Old 08-12-2002, 09:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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flminivanmama - we tried to get dh more involved the past few nights to deal with the night waking. I'm now telling dd that she can nurse for a minute but then 'nursing will go night-night' (which is what we said when I was pregnant and needed her to learn to go to sleep without nursing for ages first)

Sometimes it works, other times she has become really upset. Last night she was OK with it twice, but the next time she woke she had a meltdown over it, but I stood firm and didnt let her nurse again after I'd taken her off. I felt terrible, but in the end she rolled over, said she wanted Daddy, and fell asleep. I know that I need to do this so that I can keep my sanity - she has been waking to nurse twice as often as the baby this past week and I can't deal with it. I feel myself beginning to get resentful of her doing this, and hate that feeling!

The other problem is that she has developed a lazy latch, I get toothmarks from her top two teeth and it's really aggravating. I ask her to nurse gently and use a 'big mouth' to latch on, but it doesnt make any difference. It feels especially bad in the middle of the night when I want to go back to sleep and I'm also tense with worrying that the baby is about to wake up too and we'll have another scene.

On the plus side, daytimes are much much better. She is Ok with the baby needing to nurse and is still being really gentle with her. The jealousy seems to come out at night.

Am I doing the right thing to set limits on the night nursing? I worry that I'm rejecting her when she's vulnerable, but then again, I just can't deal with the constant waking and demands to nurse, when she was sleeping all night for the past several months with no problems.

I guess that guilt is part of mothering, but I've never felt so guilty in my life - but if I get more worn out and stressed by this, I won't be any use to either the baby or dd#1. I know in my heart that this will pass - it is easier than the first week, but would appreciate continued advice and support.
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#19 of 28 Old 08-12-2002, 09:51 PM
 
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well you certainly have my continued advice and support are you doing the right thing? only you can answer that in your heart... my opinion? yes absolutely! If everyone was happy with the situation I would say why change it but clearly not everyone is happy... look at it this way she will have this wonderful nighttime relationship with daddy
Check out http://www.drjaygordon.com for night weaning tips - although it sounds like you are doing great!

I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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#20 of 28 Old 08-12-2002, 10:10 PM
 
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You are doing a wonderful job momma!!! I know how hard this is for you!! Just remember how lucky your dd is!! Most kiddos don't even get to nurse at all at this age(maybe you can explain to her what a lucky girl she is to get to still nurse). It will just get easier and easier, until one day you won't be nursing older dd anymore . I know that's hard to see right now, but it really is such a short, short time out of their entire lives.
Hang in there, you're doing great!!

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#21 of 28 Old 08-12-2002, 11:44 PM
 
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You're doing great! It's o.k. for her to learn to sleep at night. Sounds like you are handeling it in a loving way. I'm glad that things are slowly getting better.

mom to four lively children. birth and postpartum doula. midwifery student. choosing to enjoy life. :
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#22 of 28 Old 08-15-2002, 10:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks mamas!

Things are slowly improving. Dd actually chose to eat her pasta and cheese (her favourite, we are having a lot of her favourites at the moment) rather than nursing when I was feeding the baby this afternoon - yeah!

Nights are still challenging, although I have found that if I'm not in the bed for part of the night, she sleeps better and doesnt insist on nursing so much. So I'm doing a lot of the night in the rocking chair with the baby, hoping that we'll break the habit of waking to nurse more easily that way. Not good for my sleep, but better for my sanity!

I also read some mothers' accounts of the sadness of finally weaning on the links you posted, which reminded me why I chose to do this. I think if I can get the number of nursings back under control I can start to enjoy the nursing relationship with her again.
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#23 of 28 Old 08-20-2002, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, we've been tandem nursing for four weeks now! I'm proud to be doing it, but it is still not easy. (Sigh)

The jealousy is diminishing daily. During the day, Dd now tells me that she will nurse 'as soon as the baby is finished' but usually loses interest when the baby is done. Nights are still more difficult, but we have got down to one waking to nurse and then the early morning session.

The problems arise when she wakes at the same time as I'm nursing the baby. I tell her that she has to wait, but she breaks her heart and I feel terrible. It's like she can't cope with it when she's sleepy and at her most vulnerable. I guess eventually she'll come to terms with waiting but it's hard hearing her so upset.

I'm also finding myself feeling less patient with her about the whole thing - somehow nursing her feels grating and uncomfortable, whereas the baby is fine, although when I analyse it, the baby has a worse latch than dd. I suppose it's just nature telling me which child should take priority.

I'm just feeling strange, thinking back to how anxious I was to not let her wean because I was pregnant, yet now having little patience with having her nurse. (not that I show it too much, I try to stay calm and nurturing, even though often I don't feel that way!)

Just venting, there are few people to talk to IRL about this!
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#24 of 28 Old 08-20-2002, 07:44 PM
 
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I think that - just like if you only had the baby - things will even out soon I find that the first 6-15 weeks of nursing are hard no matter what

you're doing great

I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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#25 of 28 Old 08-22-2002, 12:15 AM
 
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I've just had time to skim, so I may be repeating suggestions, but here goes. I'm just starting too (3 yr old DD1 and 3 week old DD2). DD1 isn't reacting nearly as strongly as yours, but is jealous sometimes, despite my hopes (but better than my fears). Two things - when I can't stand to nurse 2 simultaneously for long (need to get up and eat myself, for example), I'll let DD1 pick a song or two and she nurses while I sing, which distracts me and gives her a token nursing (I'm always amused that she doesn't pick long songs, my favorite is when she picks "Row row row your boat"). The other I got from "Siblings without Rivalry" (fantastic book!), which is that whenever DD2 cries the first couple of weeks, I'd ask DD1 when she thought her sister wanted. To my amazement, DD1 would always say "Her wants to nurse!" and will now tell me this whenever DD2 cries without any prompting from me. Somehow, it seems to put the girls on the same team, which is just how I want them to be.

Anyway hope things keep getting better.
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#26 of 28 Old 08-23-2002, 02:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Nancg - I just ordered Siblings without Rivalry - I'd been meaning to do so for some time.

Last two nights have been better - just waking to nurse once during the early hours of the morning. We still have a fuss when I take her off (she'd nurse forever if I let her) but she did get back to sleep. The real problem comes if she wakes when I'm already nursing the baby - she really freaks if that happens, but she seems to be getting more resigned to waiting her turn. It just makes me so sad though seeing how upset she is.

Naps are causing a big problem as she wakes after just a short time, wants to nurse, but when I try to take her off, she wakes immediately and starts crying and having a tantrum. We end up often having no nap and being cranky all afternoon, but I just can't bear lying there with her nursing endlessly just so that she gets a decent nap. I'm worried that she's picking up the fact that I don't like nursing her now, it's so sad as it used to be a special time, not something I dreaded. Does that feeling get better? Maybe when I'm less tired and stressed by the situation? Or is it going to continue to feel so irritating forever???

But the good news is that during the day when she's not tired, she's less interested in nursing and is OK with the baby being nursed, as long as I give her attention at the same time. She often says she'll nurse "as soon as the baby is finished" but when it comes to it, she's too busy playing to bother. So there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Gosh, it's hard though. I need to keep reminding myself that I'm doing the right thing for her...........
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#27 of 28 Old 09-04-2002, 01:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just an update for all you wonderful mamas who gave me advice here!

Things are really getting easier. It's still challenging tandem nursing, but dd is much happier and I'm coping with the irritability of nursing her without her realising how I"m feeling. We are nursing properly in the morning and at naptime, but at other times I'm using strategies like counting to ten and then stopping. She has now almost accepted this, and sometimes insists on nursing,then loses interest immediately. It's like she is testing whether or not I'll agree, and if I seem enthusiastic, she doesnt want to nurse after all.

I still have to grit my teeth sometimes - there seems no pattern to when I find nursing her uncomfortable and when its tolerable, but the intensity of feeling is diminishing.

So thanks to everyone who gave ideas, we seem to be workig things out!
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#28 of 28 Old 09-04-2002, 09:34 AM
 
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I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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